I’m not usually one to sign up for a conference by myself. I don’t enjoy large crowds with lots of unknown people and I don’t consider myself to be a “real” writer and it was called the Faith & Culture Writers Conference after all. I assumed this was a conference for people who write really well, have thousands of followers, write books or at least want to write books. BUT, I was compelled for some reason to register myself because I like to write and thought this would be a great challenge for me. The night before I was having serious doubts, reading the twitter feed and the bios of the people attending, insecurity was beginning to settle in. I am so out of my league, and after attending, I basically was but it was so fun.
But here’s the thing. I think God drew me there to whisper some things to me that I wouldn’t have heard otherwise and connect me to some others that my path may never have crossed had I not been there. Had I let fear and insecurity keep me from going I would have missed out on some sweet blessings. Some (and believe me there were so many I didn’t write here. Every speaker was amazing.) thoughts that stood out to me were:
- When we create we take the image of God for a walk (Ken Wytsma).
- God cares about my uniqueness and I don’t have to dismiss myself or make myself disappear for others to see God. God loves me with relentless affection. Stop asking for God to bless what I’m doing and ask Him to let me be a part of what He’s already blessing. Even if my writing touches one person then it’s worth it. (WM Paul Young, who was as amazing and delightful as my friend Erin said he was. And he hugs everyone he meets.).
- Be real, be real, be real. Sometimes what’s beautiful doesn’t sell. (Paul Metzger). No one wants to read how perfect and unattainable life is (I know I don’t).
- Writing is a journey, I don’t have to be an expert. Have transparency with a purpose. (Christal Jenkins).
- “Just because we read it wrong doesn’t mean it’s bad poetry.” (Phil Long, who is a master poet, you must hear. You have to go listen to him.)
I felt like my brain was ready to explode when I left there from all the amazing content. But my heart was also full and I felt as though I had been washed with words of wisdom, worship, beauty, and left feeling inspired. Not to go write a book, but to not be hindered by fear or insecurity. Now to live that out is the challenge.
The conference was winding down and I was standing in the bookstore. I noticed that the book our infertility and adoption story had been published in was on the table, God Makes Lemonade. I picked it up, opened to the page of our story (still in awe that it’s in there) and had a 30 second conversation with a woman who had read it. Another woman happen to be passing by at the moment I said “infertility and adoption”. She stopped abruptly and asked if she had heard me correctly. The other woman slipped away and this woman and I began a conversation about the heartache that infertility brings and the joy that adoption can be and how God has blessed us both with boys as a result. We briefly shared our stories and had many common themes and connections in our stories. As we were talking the first woman I had been chatting with poked her head back in and told the other woman, “Write a book. Women need to hear your story.” God has a funny way of connecting people. I know that it was so encouraging for me to connect with this woman and I hope I was just one more nudge and confirmation in her journey that she can write that book. I do hope that she writes it, I’ll be the first to buy it.
I’m so thankful for the Faith and Culture Writers Conference. I’m thankful that God tugged at my heart to go and for all the incredible, gifted people that I had the pleasure of being around and gleaning from while I was there. If you like to write (even if it’s just a hobby), I encourage you to go next year. You’ll be glad you did.